Air New Zealand considers media releases today by Qantas and by the Commerce Commission to be misleading and defamatory.
In announcing penalties agreed between the Commission and Qantas, British Airways and Cargolux, the Commission’s “Background” fails to note that none of the investigations referred to by the Commission has resulted in a finding of illegal conduct by Air New Zealand. These investigations have all involved substantially the same information that the Commission has.
“The Commission’s media release leaves an impression that all airlines involved in all jurisdictions are guilty and simply “awaiting hearing” or “awaiting trial”. That is simply not true and the Commission knows it,” said John Blair, Air New Zealand’s General Counsel.
Air New Zealand is also surprised at Qantas’s claim that its own illegal conduct included communication with Air New Zealand. Qantas has acknowledged in a number of off-shore jurisdictions that it participated in widespread criminal behaviour, whereas neither Air New Zealand nor any Air New Zealand employees have been found guilty of such behaviour.
Qantas has previously attempted to deflect attention from its own illegal conduct by making similar claims of Air New Zealand involvement to another investigator but this was given no weight. Qantas appears to be pursuing a strategy of trying to implicate other airlines in cartel investigations in the hope of securing more lenient treatment of its own conduct.